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The "Drop It" Game

Pepper is a Labradoodle who would sometimes steal and resource guard socks and other objects belonging to her human parents – often destroying them. We started playing the “Drop it” game to help Pepper feel better about “handing over the goods” that she might swipe or pick up. I stressed to her human mom, Sarah, that she keep the training fun, because when someone gets upset with a dog who has something in her mouth, the dog tends to bite down a little harder on the object and not want to give it up, and sometimes will even swallow it.


So we kept things light and fun, with Sarah and Gregg getting Pepper to drop a ball, her stuffed lamb, and even a sock! We would trade for the object, and Pepper would get either a treat reward, or something more fun to play with. She really enjoyed the game. 


Then I was told that Pepper was stealing Cinnamon the Cat’s little stuffed mousie toys. These toys were small enough for Pepper to swallow, so I wanted to make sure that this was under control. I reminded Gregg and Sarah to keep this fun and happy, and we played the game with the little toy mouse. Pepper was SO good at it. She loves playing games.


This week Sarah told me a story. She’d just gotten dressed and left the house, when she realized the money she had put in the pocket of her jeans, was no longer there. She went back inside to be see Pepper standing there with the corner of a 100 dollar bill sticking out of the side of her mouth. They made eye contact.


Sarah took a dip breath and said, “Oh Peppie, thank you! You’re such a good girl to bring me that money! Drop it.” 


Pepper wagged her tail, slowly lowered her head and then opened her mouth. The bill - still intact - dropped to the floor.


“You’re such a good girl,” she said as she picked up the bill, “Let’s go in the kitchen and get a biscuit!”


Whew!



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